Lesser-Known Liquors Worth Trying
Rum, vodka, whiskey, tequila — these liquors seem to be everywhere. Many different distillers make them, and they are widely sold at bars and liquor stores. However, while they are common, these are not the only liquors that exist. The following are some lesser-known liquors that you may want to try.
Arak is an Asian liquor with a potent anise flavor. It is fermented from grapes, and so it has a slight underlying sweetness. Arak is really common in Palestine, Israel, and Jordan, where it is generally served mixed only with some water. This is an interesting liquor to try alongside appetizers and cheeses.
Mezcal is similar to tequila in that it is fermented from agave. In fact, some consider tequila to be a type of mezcal. However, mezcal is made by cooking the agave in an earthen pot over burning wood, which gives it a smokiness you won't find in most tequila. Mezcal is excellent for making all sorts of cocktails, from Mexican milt juleps to mezcal margaritas.
Raki is the National Drink of Turkey, and it's also enjoyed in Greece and the Baltic countries. It's fermented with grapes and flavored with anise. Some distillers make it with sugar beets instead of or in addition to grapes. Raki is usually served chilled alongside various appetizers. It's a pre-dinner drink and pairs well with seafood.
Absinthe is a really unique liquor distilled from wormwood. It's flavored with herbs including fennel and green anise. Since the liquor has a distinct, bright green color, people sometimes call it "the green fairy." It's traditionally consumed with a sugar cube.
Absinthe originated in Switzerland and was really popular in Europe throughout the 1800s. It was illegal in the United States for a while because of its apparent psychoactive effects, but it is now thought that those effects were exaggerated. You can now purchase absinthe at many liquor stores in the U.S.
Cachaca is a Brazilian drink distilled from sugar cane. It has a topical flavor similar to that of rum. In Brazil, it is often used to make a drink called a caipirinha, which consists of lime juice, sugar, and cachaca. This liquor is well worth a try if you're someone who ordinarily drinks rum.
The next time you're at a liquor store, keep your eyes out for these unique liquors. It's fun to step outside the box and try something different.